The Kitchen Blu-ray Review

Written and directed by Andrea Berloff, based on the Vertigo comic book series, The Kitchen tells the story of three wives of New York gangsters in Hell’s Kitchen during the 1970s who continue to operate their husbands’ rackets after they’re locked up in prison. Check out Ralph Potts’ Blu-ray review from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

88

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss, Tiffany Haddish, Domhnall Gleeson, James Badge Dale, Brian D’Arcy James, Margo Martindale, Common, Bill Camp
Directed by: Andrea Berloff
Music by: Bryce Dessner
Based on the Comic Book Series by: Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle
Region Code: A

Release Date: November 5, 2019

“It’s Not a Man’s World Anymore”

Synopsis:

“They’re taking control of Hell’s Kitchen in the gritty, female-driven mob drama “The Kitchen” starring Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and, Elisabeth Moss as three 1978 Hell’s Kitchen housewives.” – Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

My Take:

Between 8th Ave. and the Hudson River, the Irish mafia runs 20 blocks of a tough New York City neighborhood known as Hell’s Kitchen. But for mob wives Kathy (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish) and Claire (Elizabeth Moss), things are about to take a dramatic and radical turn. When the FBI sends their husbands to prison, the three women take business into their own hands by running the rackets and taking out the competition.

The Kitchen is written & directed by Andrea Berloff and based on the Vertigo comic book series. I have never heard of it so going into this review my expectations were limited to knowledge of the cast. I wanted to like this film more but, its rather bland script, girl power fist pumping and uninteresting characters never won me over. Given the period, setting and subject matter, there was ample room for interesting interplay, darker themes and engaging subplots.

Instead there was too much posturing, eye rolling drama and forced wink and nod references that really don’t land. I also didn’t care for the handling of the meteoric ascent to the top of the organized crime food chain by three housewives with zero experience in a world run by much smarter and tougher types. I didn’t have a problem with the possibility of it but, the fast food style telling did nothing to establish foundation or credibility. The gratuitous violence seemed interjected solely as a thematic poly and the lazy lot twist really did nothing to elevate the storyline.

At the end of the day The Kitchen turned out to be a tonally unbalanced, flavorless and mediocre film that failed to capitalize on the potential of its subject and talented cast.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence, language throughout and some sexual content.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

The Kitchen comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This high definition video presentation looks solid, and features a distinctive visual aesthetic that utilizes a reserved chromatic palette which makes use of sepia tones and muted primaries. This provides the period style look the filmmakers were striving for. Certain sequences/elements make bolder use of color with noticeably deeper saturation. Contrast and brightness are well balanced which results in distortion free and satisfying image quality. Blacks appear deep and punchy but delineation in low level scenes can range from very good to average. Flesh tones are a bit on the bland side but retain enough complexional variety to avoid appearing lifeless. Close ups offer appreciable texture and refinement. I didn’t notice any signs of compression or video related artifacts.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound keeps pace with the video and is quite good. Dynamics are robust and highs are crisp without being strident or edgy. Dialog is rendered with defining tonal expression and room penetrating depth through the center channel. The front soundstage is diffused with excellent separation and clearly articulated detail. The presentation makes ample use of the entire surround platform. At times it opens up quite nicely to create an involving surround mix containing a mix of directional and ambient sounds. Bass response doesn’t reach subterranean levels however it appropriately supports the source elements and provides an appreciably tight, and punchy low end.

Bonus Features:

  • Running Hell’s Kitchen Featurette
  • Taking Over the Neighborhood Featurette
  • Deleted Scene
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Written & directed by Andrea Berloff based on the Vertigo comic book series, The Kitchen is a tonally unbalanced, flavorless and mediocre film that failed to capitalize on the potential of its subject and talented cast. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video and a lackluster supplemental offering. The Kitchen is a swing and miss that is best left to viewing on cable TV.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems